CW: Please note that this post contains references to sexual assault.
The first time I realized that my body was, literally, up for grabs I was 18. It was September of my freshman year of college, and I was attending Wesleyan’s infamous Sex Party. The Sex Party felt oddly like a high school dance, but with harder drugs, women in lingerie, and even less concern for anything bordering on consent. I was tipsy, and anxious, still adjusting to my month-long foray into adult living. I remember my friend motioning to me to walk outside onto the large back porch, when all of a sudden there was a man standing in front of me with a crew cut, squeezing my breasts. What alarmed me most about this moment was the look in his eyes—calm, casual, matter of fact, as if he were merely picking up something he had dropped, something that had always belonged to him. Moments later, he was gone. He never spoke to me, and I never saw him again—a fact that always surprised me, given that we would spend four years living on the same tiny college campus.
Seven years later, I remain haunted by that moment and by the extent to which my body will never totally belong to me.